KEYWORDS: teens, europe, family, lord, letter, shepherds

Getting Back On Track for Jesus--Part One (For JETTs)

Karen Zerby

Maria #205aDO 2890a1/94

Mama Maria's Letter to the Family in Europe, revised & condensed for JETTs

Required Reading for JETTs

Introduction—By WS Staff1/94

(To be read by all JETTs prior to reading Mama Maria's Letter.)

God bless you! We love you very much & have you in our prayers!

A few months ago it became apparent that both the young people & the adults in the Family in Europe had some serious problems & desperately needed help. After hearing that quite a few of the teens & YAs in Europe had left the Family in the last nine months, & after receiving many reports about the sad, confused & degenerate state of some of the Homes, Mama Maria wrote a Letter to the Family in Europe. In this Letter she explains the history of what went wrong in Europe, & she addresses some of the main problems & gives lots of counsel & answers & solutions.

What happened in Europe could have happened anywhere. Therefore‚ Mama Maria's Letter is being published for the Family worldwide so that all may benefit. As the old saying goes, "A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others!" This Letter will undoubtedly be an eye-opener & warning & shake-up for all! As you read this‚ please try to apply it to your own situation where appropriate. It's easy when reading a Letter that is written to a particular individual or area to think, "Mama Maria is writing to someone else, not to us." In this case‚ there have been numerous confirmations that some of the same problems that Europe is facing are also prevalent in some other areas to varying degrees.

You may initially be shocked or discouraged when you read this Letter & see the extent of the problems that have come up in Europe. But please don't worry or let this bad news upset you or get you down, because there is light at the end of the tunnel & the Lord is already winning many big victories in Europe. PTL!

A substantial amount of time has already elapsed since these problems came to a head. This Letter from Mama Maria was written to the Family in Europe over four months ago. You will read the Letter in the present tense, as it was written to the European Family. This verb tense can give the impression that Mama Maria is addressing a very current situation. But please try to remind yourselves that some time has elapsed since the European Family Members read this Letter, & the Lord has already been working in their lives for several months. TYJ!

In October of 1993, there was a YA seminar which was hosted by the European Shepherds & some visiting Shepherds & attended by some of the YAs & adults from Eastern & Western Europe. This Letter from Mama Maria was read at that seminar & it caused no small stir!—In fact, it caused a revolution! PTL! After this week-long meeting‚ small teams of adults & YAs who attended the meeting began visiting the Homes in Europe. In each Home where they've visited‚ they've read Mama Maria's Letter. The results have been very encouraging. You'll be happy to know that the young people & adults in Europe have repented, forsaken their sins, learned many precious lessons, & are now back on the attack for the Lord! The European Family overall is more encouraged & they are uniting in their battle against these inside attacks of the Enemy! So things are already going much better! TYJ!

Of course there are still many battles to fight & our dear European Family still has a long ways to go, but they're making progress & the Lord is helping & strengthening them! PTL! Please keep the Family in Europe in your prayers!

As you hear Mama Maria's Letter, you may have some questions. But as the Letter progresses, many of those questions will probably be answered. So please have patience as you read or hear the Letter, & remember that it takes a little time to explain the whole situation & all the whys & wherefores of what happened & what needs to be done to improve the situation. Of course, if you find that your questions are not being answered as the Letter progresses, please ask your Shepherds or parents or teachers.

We pray that the reading of this Letter will help clarify any news or stories that you might have heard via the grapevine about what's happened in Europe, & that it will be a blessing to you all! God bless & keep you & give you great victories‚ sweet unity‚ fervent love for one another, & the will & determination to stay on the attack for Jesus! Praise the Lord! Keep fighting! We love you!


Mama Maria's Letter to the Family in Europe, revised & condensed for JETTs

Dear JETTs,

1. GOD BLESS YOU! I love you very much & thank the Lord for each one of you! You are very special to Grandpa & me, & we have you in our prayers!

2. I recently wrote a very long Letter to the Family in Europe. As you know, that Letter was read by the adults, YAs & teens during the Birthday Fast. Now I want to explain to you JETTs what has been happening with the Family in Europe & what we've all been learning as a result. I think there are a lot of good lessons that you can learn too.

3. Did you know that it's very unusual for me to write Letters that are directed to a specific area of the World? Usually Dad's & my Letters address the needs of our whole worldwide Family in general, so that everyone can benefit equally. This is especially true right now as we are facing urgent persecution battles in many countries, & we're literally fighting for the future of the Family! I hardly have time for anything else but to finalise the most timely pubs, to hear the many urgent reports from our field officers that come in weekly, & to counsel with Grandpa & our leadership as to what to do, which direction to go, & how to advance in this ever-increasing worldwide persecution emergency! Thank the Lord‚ He is helping us to win many battles, & we can look forward to a wonderful victory! PTL!

4. In spite of the urgency of my daily work & our present warfare against our enemies, I felt led to write a special Letter to the Family in Europe because they were having some serious problems. I needed to try to help them see the seriousness of the situation they had gotten themselves into, to answer some questions & clarify some points of confusion, & to hopefully encourage them & motivate them to get back on track for the Lord.

5. After writing the Letter to the Family in Europe, the Lord showed us that it could be a blessing to the whole Family. We realised that if we shared this Letter with everyone, then everyone could learn some good lessons. Because sad to say‚ we have since realised that some of the same problems that were occurring in Europe were also happening in other areas, to a lesser degree. So it seems everyone can benefit from the counsel, correction & advice that I gave to the Family in Europe. Let's all try to learn some good lessons together, okay? Praise the Lord!

6. I'll explain what happened in Europe by sharing with you direct quotes from my Letter to Europe. You JETTs are going to read a little bit shorter version of my Letter than was read by the adults, YAs & teens, & there are several reasons for that. To begin with, it's not necessary for you to be burdened with the details of the problems that came up in Europe. Secondly, I don't want you to have to read such a very long Letter. And thirdly, some of the Letter doesn't really apply to you, as it's advice, counsel or correction for the older members of the Family. So what I'll do is pick out the many different parts of my Letter that I think will be interesting & helpful for you JETTs.

7. I cover many aspects of the situation in Europe in this Letter. I explain where the Family Members went wrong, & expose some of the problems‚ & sometimes I also have to give a little correction. But before I go further I want to make it clear that the problems & weaknesses of the European Work are not the fault of any one age group or any one leader or group of leaders. The problems are quite complex, & they're the result of mistakes, misunderstandings, shortcomings‚ sins, & failures on many people's parts.

8. This Letter is quite long & it can't be read completely in one sitting. So at first, as you begin to read through this Letter‚ you young people might feel like you're getting all the blame. You might feel a little resentful or discouraged, thinking that I‚ Mama Maria, don't see the situation clearly, because you wonder why the adults aren't also getting a spanking for their mistakes & the things they have done wrong. But please understand that as the Letter progresses, & especially in the third part of the Letter, I will get around to talking more specifically to the adults & giving them the correction they need too. So it's best to reserve your judgement & reactions until you've read the whole Letter. Okay? Thanks!

9. Now let's get started. This is what I told the Family in Europe almost four months ago:

What's Going on in Europe?

10. Grandpa & I have been watching the progress in Europe & have been burdened by some serious ongoing problems. We've been especially concerned, in fact burdened to tears, to hear about how quite a few teens & YAs have decided to leave the Family over the past months, the majority simply wanting to "try out" the System. Of course, we couldn't help but wonder what in the world was going on & what was causing our young people in Europe to be so unhappy, dissatisfied, discouraged, & so lacking in vision that they actually left the Family. It has become increasingly alarming to see the contrast between what's happening with our young people in Europe & what's happening in other parts of the World, where for the most part our young people are growing, maturing & happy serving the Lord.

11. It seems the Family standard in many of our European Homes has become unclear or almost disappeared altogether. Bickering, strife, bitterness, resentment & lack of respect are destroying your unity & choking out your love for one another. Contentions‚ differences of opinions, & a lack of communication are causing many teamworks to be ineffective. Many adults & teens are spiritually dead, due to a lack of the Spirit & the Word, & a lack of vision & challenge has made many teens feel disillusioned.

12. You JETTs, teens & YAs are the pure generation Grandpa talks about, the Prophets of Jesus' Endtime Army that Grandpa loves & needs & cherishes; & that's why the Devil is fighting you so hard & trying to get you so sidetracked & discouraged. Together, let's try to get to the bottom of some of your questions & these problems & see what we can do to turn this situation around, so you teens can be happy, challenged, productive & at peace.

13. For several months I've been hearing reports from your Shepherds, & also from Josiah & Solomon, who as many of you know, have been travelling through Europe & other areas doing a special project. So I've been keeping up with the details of what's happening‚ & although Grandpa hasn't read all the details, he is aware of the general situation.

14. The worst & most distressing news we hear from Europe is that quite a few teens & YAs have left the Family. I'm sure it's been very difficult for you too when you've seen or heard of teens & YAs leaving—some of whom may have been your brothers or sisters, or your close friends, or your boyfriends or girlfriends. And with so many leaving‚ perhaps you've begun to feel like maybe they're right, that maybe there is something out there in the System, & that maybe you should try it too.

15. Along with this very major problem of losing some of our precious teens & YAs, there are other serious problems as well, which can be seen if you look below the surface & at what is beneath the tip of the iceberg. Many of you, especially you teens & YAs, are probably aware of these problems. I may not be telling you anything new. But it might surprise you to see that I have been following your progress carefully, & I have prayed desperately for you on many occasions, that the Lord would strengthen you against these devastating inside attacks of the Enemy.

Summary of Problems

16. Here's a little summary of what's going on‚ at least as I see it. We'll come back to some of these points later, but for now, this is a little overview: There is an underground movement or rebellion amongst some of our young people in some European areas in which the attitudes, thoughts, desires, motives & goals of those involved are contrary to the very foundation of our Family & the principles upon which we build our lives for the Lord. Apparently you young people feel that your communications with the adults have been so bad & they're so out of touch with you that there's no hope of ever fixing it, so instead of even trying to work it out, you have chosen to just forget it, go your own way, & do your own thing.

17. This underground rebellion has progressed to such a degree that in one country there is a "secret" slogan circulated amongst the teens that says, "Never trust an adult!" How sad! And these attitudes have not been unique to only the teens & YAs, they have filtered down through the ranks to the point that they've also infected & negatively affected the JETTs, OCs, & even the younger children. Such divisive attitudes have eaten away at your unity & love, & the end result has been a lot of heartache, confusion & misunderstandings.

18. You have also been experimenting with different freedoms & liberties, many of which have been taken to the extreme. Some of you have adopted the attitude that such freedoms are your "right" & the adults or your Shepherds have no right to even question you concerning them. As a result, the adults have been at wits end & unable to rein you in, which has caused chaos & confusion in your Homes. As a result, you've experienced different periods of extreme looseness, which have been followed by extreme restrictions, so that the pendulum has swung very far from one side to the other, when‚ as you see it, the adults have overreacted‚ clamped down on you real hard, & tried to legislate righteousness. Plus, by this time the adults are pretty fed up & disgusted with you teens, & in many cases have pretty much given up hope of being able to work well with you. They are resentful & feel, "Is this what we get after all the years of love & care & training we've tried to give you?"

19. The seemingly insatiable desire for System music that some of you teens & YAs have is also a serious problem. While the availability of System music & your attitude towards it varies from country to country & Home to Home, overall, what was supposed to be a well–shepherded experiment of allowing a little more variety & some selected System music has turned into a free-for-all where you've become polluted through listening extensively to the music of some of the most evil hard rock musicians.

20. We've also received reports that many of you teens & YAs are swearing, drinking‚ fighting, stealing, unwilling to share the workload in the Homes, refusing to read the Word, walking off your jobs & out of Home meetings, & exhibiting many other unloving actions & attitudes. You haven't respected the teen relationship & sharing guidelines, which has resulted in many people being hurt. You've had a lack of vision, a lack of feeling needed & useful, & you have become discouraged with unfruitful & uninspiring witnessing.

21. As you can see, I've heard many disturbing & heartbreaking things about teen life in our Homes in Europe, which have made me desperate in prayer & concern for you.—Desperate to help you raise the standard back up to where it can be seen waving high above you & to where the rallying cry will be so strong amongst you that the Enemy's voice will be inaudible, or at least insignificant. And this is why I'm writing. The situation in Europe is desperate, & something has got to be done to turn things around immediately! God help us!

Most of Our Teens Worldwide Are Happy

22. The Family at present is like that little lump of coal that's made into a diamond under pressure.—The pressure is really on with persecution mounting worldwide‚ enemies attacking on every side, & the media smearing us with the lies they've heard from backsliders, anti-cult groups or the ACs. The Lord is using these attacks to force us, under pressure‚ to shine like never before. Once again, our adversary has become our helper. PTL! The Lord is making us into His tight powerful Army, & we've already begun the march into the Endtime.

23. With this big battle raging all around us, it really saddens us to hear that teen life in many Homes in Europe is one of so little Word & prayer & witnessing, & so much bickering, System music & goofing off. Your lack of inspiration, lack of respect, rebellious attitudes‚ very shallow attitude towards sex, & desire for the World greatly concerns us.

24. Does it surprise you to hear that what you're experiencing is not the norm? Did you ever wonder whether teen life is the same in other parts of the World as it is in your Home or your country or most of Western Europe? We've heard that some of you have asked this very question, & the answer is no! There are many teens & YAs who are challenged, inspired, happy & very much a part of this Revolution for Jesus. If you've somehow gotten the mistaken idea that all the teens in the Family are miserable, dissatisfied, confused, frustrated & bored, you're wrong! That's just a trick of the Enemy to try to get you to believe that there is something wrong with the Family & the Word & our lifestyle.

25. Of course, we're not saying that any of our Homes worldwide are perfect. Naturally there are some situations in other Homes around the World where the adults & young people are still learning to communicate & work together with mutual respect & trust. We do still need to improve in many areas; that is why the PER was initiated, because there is room for improvement. So we're not saying that our Homes & young people in areas other than Europe are completely problem-free. That assumption would be unrealistic. Also‚ we know the Enemy's bag of tricks is the same everywhere, & he has tried to use these same devices to corrupt & lead astray & destroy the teens & YAs in other areas as well. There are problems in most other areas with such things as lack of respect, swearing, desire for System music, negative peer pressure, etc., but thank the Lord, the young people elsewhere have not succumbed to the Enemy's temptations to such a serious degree, & therefore their problems have not gotten so out of control, nor have the young people been so terribly discontent as to want to leave the Family. TTL!

26. When you're evaluating your happiness & the quality of your Home life, it's good to remember that even if you're living in the best of circumstances or in a nearly perfect setup, you will still face spiritual battles, which sometimes make life difficult. Fighting the Devil, & resisting his negative thoughts & temptations, & overcoming the battles he bombards you with when you're sincerely trying to serve the Lord & invade the Devil's territory isn't an easy life, & it's natural that sometimes you feel battle-weary or discouraged or just plain tired. Serving the Lord can be a battle, & fighting the Enemy a real difficult & trying experience. But such spiritual battles do not necessarily indicate that something is wrong with you or your Home or the quality of shepherding you're receiving. We all have battles & tests & trials‚ because we're in a spiritual battle‚ we're in a war, & we all have to fight, & keep fighting for the Lord & our Family & all those Christians who have gone on before‚ who are cheering us on & counting on us to finish the war. In the end we'll join our great worldwide Christian Family with all those we have won & all those who have gone on before in one great celebration of victory, the biggest & best fellowship meeting with each other & Jesus ever! PTL!

27. The majority of our young people are sticking it out & are determined to serve the Lord, in spite of the rough spots or "growing pains" in their working relationship with the adults, & in spite of the spiritual battles they have to fight. The very fact that we're not having large numbers of teens leave the Family in any other area besides Europe speaks clearly that our young people overall are not experiencing the same intense battles with dissatisfaction & disillusionment as you are in Europe.

28. Now I understand that there may be, & probably are‚ some Homes in Europe where you young people are happy & satisfied & challenged, for which we're very thankful. But from what we can see, these situations are the exception, & thus I'm addressing the majority of you teens in Europe, who I believe long for a change. I believe you want to be happy & serve the Lord. Isn't that true? I don't believe you teens are rotten apples. I believe you are David's Children who want to serve the Lord & be in the Family. I believe you love the Lord & Grandpa & me, but right now many of you may be weak & confused & discouraged. You need someone to help you find your way back to the Father's House where you can once again enjoy sweet fellowship with the Lord & your Family.

29. You young people are a very important part of our Family. We need you & love you! You're called & chosen, & I know that the years of training you've received have not been in vain, & the Word you've read is still in your hearts & will not return void. But there are some things that are covering & smothering it, quenching the spirit that the Lord's given you‚ choking out your fruitfulness‚ & causing you to be miserable & unhappy.

30. So where did things go wrong? Why aren't you more inspired & challenged? Why don't you have more unselfish love amongst yourselves? Why has such a different standard & almost a completely different set of values been adopted by some of you, so that you have lost sight of the goal & let go of some of the very basics of what we believe in? What are the solutions?

The Lord Can Give Us the Solutions

31. Before I get into some specifics, let me explain that I know that not all of your situations & "histories" in the Family are the same. You've all had different types of Shepherds & been through different training programs. Some of you may have spent a lot of your teen years in situations that were pretty loose & where you took liberties & got away with things that weren't right. Others of you may have been in situations that were tighter & more rigid.

32. Some of you have been around teens who had wrong attitudes & whose behaviour affected you adversely, even some "rotten apples" who have now left the Family, but who left their evil seeds of pride, doubt, & rebelliousness in you & your teen group before leaving. Others of you may feel that you've been unfairly judged in some past situations, or misunderstood. And still others of you may have been considered good, faithful, loyal teens by your Shepherds, but eventually the negative peer pressure became too much for you to withstand, until you too fell into the camp of the rebellious doubters & murmurers.

33. I'm sure if I were to talk to each of you individually, I would find no two stories the same, because you're all individuals & you've each come in contact with many different situations & people & Shepherds, which‚ when combined with the personal choices you have made, have contributed to making you the person you are today. But in spite of all this, I believe there are some causes of the problems in Europe that are common to you all, & therefore I feel it would be fair & safe for me to address you as a group concerning these points.

34. I believe the Lord can give us the solutions!—And that if both you adults & you young people will take ahold of these answers & explanations‚ & will make the changes that are needed in your lives, then things can be radically different for you from one day to the next. You can again shine & be inspired in your lives for Jesus. You can become sweet & loving with each other, affectionate, challenged, envisioned, on fire & greatly used of the Lord.

35. I pray that you'll each be open to what I have to say to you, & that if there are any "hard sayings" in this for you—either for you adults, or for you YAs or teens or JETTs—that you'll nevertheless look beyond that to see what the results can be if each of you will grab ahold of these changes & make the push that's needed to bring them to pass in your Homes & personal lives.

36. Already in this Letter I've enumerated many of the problems you're facing, & as we go on, you'll start to see more & more clearly where you've gone astray. To have to explain & address & expose problems isn't much fun for me, & to have to listen to all of this I'm sure isn't much fun for you. You may feel shocked & embarrassed as you read this Letter. You may even begin to feel overwhelmed or discouraged or condemned. But remember‚ the Lord has the solutions & He will bring the victory.

37. If you just look to Jesus & cast your burdens on Him‚ He'll carry you through these difficult times; & by His grace, you'll be like the bird whose pinion was broken but who eventually flew higher than ever before. Or you'll be like the little lamb whose leg had to be broken & who was then carried in the arms of the Shepherd until their love & bond was so great that the little lamb never strayed again. PTL! So don't get discouraged, & certainly don't let the Devil condemn you! "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit!" (Rom.8:1)

38. If you are sorry for past mistakes & sins & have repented, you are once again "walking after the Spirit" & the Lord will not condemn you for those things‚ & neither will we. Just as He said to the woman long ago, so He says to you, "Neither do I condemn you; go & sin no more!" So if the Lord doesn't condemn you & we don't condemn you, neither are you to condemn yourself. If the Lord & we don't think it good to condemn you, or right to condemn you, what business do you have taking on such an unapproved activity as condemning yourself? That takes up a lot of your energy, it saps your strength & lessens your motivation to do things for Jesus, & in general it just does not bear good fruit.

39. To God, such unfruitful activities as condemnation are a "no–no." They're bad for you, they're bad for others & they prevent you from being a fruitful, strong, on-fire, always-ready-to-fight soldier in His army. In fact, Jesus not only tells us not to condemn ourselves, but He tells us what to do instead: He says, "Go & sin no more." (Jn.8:11) In other words, go & do what I have commanded you to do, get busy & do your work for Me!—And, while you're at it, do a good job of it & don't sin anymore!

40. So, dear young people, please heed this counsel & don't condemn yourself in any of these things, but keep your eyes on Jesus & keep looking forward. There are so many battles each day that we need our energy for, that to waste our time in dwelling upon our past is not good, & is why the Lord commanded us to "forget the past." Any of the sweet lessons we have learned & the beautiful times we've had, even though they may have been a little difficult, can be remembered fondly; & even our mistakes & failures can be remembered for their lesson value—not remembered with remorse or condemnation‚ but thankfulness, because of what the Lord has taught us through them.

41. Jesus loves you, Grandpa & I love you, & your Family loves you! So hang on! Don't get discouraged & don't give up!

The History of the European Work Since the BTC Seminar

42. The vantage point from which we view the Work can be compared to viewing a battlefield on a big movie screen. We see the troops on both sides—ours & the Enemy's. We can see the moves each side is making‚ the manoeuvres that are planned, & the booby traps that are being laid & walked into. We see some battalions & groups of soldiers falling, & others being victorious. We watch to see which way the battle is going & what needs to be done to ensure victory.

43. Concerning the spiritual battle in Europe, some ground has been lost to the Enemy, some of which we've virtually given to him. This surrender of territory has seriously affected your unity & strength & ability to rise victorious over him. So how & when did this happen?

44. Let's go back in the history of Europe to the very end of 1992 & the beginning of 1993. I'm sure you've all heard of the Budapest Training Centre (BTC) Seminar. Many of you may have attended those meetings‚ which I believe have now been dubbed by some as the time of the "teen freedoms" or "teen liberties." Those terms have always concerned me a bit, & now as we've watched the battle for our European teens progress over the past months, the reasons why these terms have bothered me have become clearer.

45. We'd like to explain how we see the BTC Seminar, again from the vantage point of looking at our big movie screen. The BTC Seminar took place after it was reported to your European Shepherds that several teens there were dissatisfied, to the point of wanting to leave the Family. In fact, two had already left & were staying in a campground near the Home, & a third boy left to join them shortly thereafter. From what I know, this was the first instance of such a major "walkout" amongst the teens in Europe‚ & of course it caused the Shepherds & the other adults & teens there great concern.

46. As you know, Eastern Europe is a tremendously fruitful field with very sweet, receptive people, & many of you have desired to join up with some of the teams there to be able to burn free in your witnessing. It hasn't been possible yet to give all of you that opportunity, but a great percentage of the older teens & YAs have been able to go there. But somehow, with the movement of teens & YAs to Eastern Europe, quite a few weaker teens & even some real "rotters" congregated together in that one Home‚ the BTC, & in that area of Eastern Europe; & these rotters & weak teens very quickly spread their criticisms & rebellion to others.

47. These boys who have left from the BTC & some of the other teens & YAs there had a long-time desire for the System & its ways. They were very rebellious & had an attitude of‚ "Don't tell me what to do!—I'm going to do my own thing!" They freely talked about their criticisms amongst themselves & with the other teens.

48. Some of these teens & YAs had been serious problem cases in Home after Home, area after area, & with teen group after teen group. Even after they were given explanations & answers to their questions & lots of love, prayer, Word, help & personal shepherding, they still refused to change or forsake their sins‚ doubts, murmurs & divisive spirits.

49. These teens lacked any kind of fear of the Lord in their open attacks on & disregard for some of the principles in the Family that we hold "sacred"—not sacred in the sense that they can't be talked about & explained, but in the sense that they are Biblical Truths which are the foundation upon which we have based our faith, & by which all dedicated Christians throughout the ages have lived & died.

50. When the European Shepherds heard about some of the teens & YAs leaving & the big mess things were in at the BTC, of course, they were very concerned & wanted to do all they could to salvage the situation, to clear things up & answer any questions. So two of the European Shepherds met with the local Shepherds in Hungary & they gathered together quite a large group of teens from the surrounding countries‚ & they held what is now referred to as the BTC Seminar.

51. During this seminar the teens present had an opportunity to ask their questions & voice a lot of things that were on their hearts. They talked about their desire to have certain freedoms & liberties & to redefine the guidelines regarding listening to System music. They also shared many things that bothered them about the way the adults had been treating & shepherding them, much of which genuinely did need to be changed. In fact, it was hearing the heartcry of the teens at this BTC Seminar that prompted me to look further into our teens' needs throughout the World. Some of you participated in meetings in other areas of Europe with your Shepherds & were asked to share with me your feelings about different aspects of your lives. And as you now know, the PER is partly based on the recommendations from these & other similar meetings that were held throughout the World.

52. So the BTC Seminar could be described as an initial step toward the PER. Many of the desired changes that the Shepherds & teens discussed in those meetings were the same or similar to those that we've now begun worldwide through the PER, such as: more encouragement, greater trust & responsibility for our young people, the opportunity to voice your needs & desires, more affection, more liberties, more open communication between adults & teens & YAs‚ & more opportunities for you to counsel together about things, rather than just being told what to do or having rules so strictly enforced that you have no say in them whatsoever.

53. However, in some ways the results of the BTC Seminar have had pretty much the opposite effect in Europe than was intended, & have wreaked havoc amongst the teen groups, brought confusion to your minds & hearts, & generated a loss of conviction as far as what the standard really is in certain areas. By now the Family standard amongst you teens has fallen so low that it's been nearly invisible sometimes.—And, as a recent visitor to one of your areas commented, he hardly recognised you teens as Family teens.—How heartbreaking!

54. I've read different reports in which the BTC Seminars have been described as lifting the lid off of "Pandora's Box."* This was probably because there was so much underneath in those few rotten-apple teens' hearts that wasn't right. But when the opportunity came for them to express themselves & work together with others to bring about change‚ the changes & liberties they insisted on having just burst all the boundaries, & it was like a flood. The rotten apples refused to submit to their Shepherds & had no fear of the Lord & seemed to infect just about everyone. (*To lift the lid off Pandora's Box is a figure of speech based on a story from Greek mythology. It means you unwittingly open the door for a lot of evil.)

55. Before long, things got pretty out of hand in some Homes & areas to where there was almost a mutiny, as some of you teens, following the example of the "rotten apples," would walk off your jobs or Home ministries, be disrespectful to your Shepherds, & pooh–pooh the schedule & needs in your Homes. Some of you lacked interest in real in-depth witnessing & soul-winning & Family life, to the point that one of the only things that interested you was music, either listening to or playing music. System music of all types was listened to at will, & at all times. There was no regard for our sharing guidelines amongst teens, so that many liberties were taken without the right balance of responsibility or even loving principles. Some teens were unloving & uncaring to children, & lost sight of our main goals of witnessing & winning others to the Lord. A hunger & desire for the Word & prayer was also lost. To some of you this description may seem extreme, but unfortunately, this is what happened in several Western European Homes!

56. While all this was happening, more teens & YAs continued to leave the Family in Europe. It's been heartbreaking to hear & read these reports time & again, & we're sure it's been quite shocking & demoralising for you too, & has greatly affected you.

Mama Maria's Message to the European Shepherds

57. I heard some detailed reports from Josiah & Solomon who were travelling in Europe at the time. They were able to visit many Homes & they told me in detail what they saw in some of the Homes. It made me very sad & I sent the European Shepherds the following message.

Dear Ones,

58. We love you very much & are praying for you desperately. This is just a quick note to pass on to you these reports we just received from Josiah & Solomon.

59. Josiah & Solomon's reports are both heartbreaking & infuriating. It's almost unbelievable to hear that our young people are in such a deplorable state & that both the local & national Shepherds don't seem to be doing anything about it, or worse, don't even seem to be aware that the kids are hurting so much!

60. Something needs to be done about this situation immediately! If it's not, then we're going to lose more of our precious teens‚ which is a horrible thing to happen. God help us! This needs to be attended to right away, it can't wait. Potentially losing a number of teens is as serious as potential raids on Homes by the authorities, perhaps even worse, since when we are raided at least the Lord usually brings about good publicity & many long-lasting victories.—But losing our teens, whom we've poured into for years & years, is tragic! Why is it happening? What are you going to do to stop it?

61. This is about the fourth or fifth time there have been problems like this with our youth in Europe. Nowhere else are we losing so many teens & YAs. We're losing the war for our youth in Europe & we need to do something now to turn it around!

62. Please tell us immediately what you plan to do specifically about the situation in this Combo, & later let us know why you feel we've lost & still seem to be losing our precious sons & daughters to the World & the System, & what you feel needs to be done to turn the tide. Thanks!

63. We're praying that the Lord will lead & guide you in this emergency & that He will show you what to do. No matter what it takes, you need to try to rescue this situation. God bless & help you!

Love‚ Mama

Reactions from the European Shepherds

64. Below are some excerpts of the responses & reactions from some of the European Shepherds to the above message, & what the Lord showed them‚ which confirmed to us the seriousness of the situation, & helped us to understand what went wrong & what we need to do to remedy it!

65. From P.: "Thank you so much for sharing with us the very heartbreaking & heart-rending reports from Josiah & Solomon. After reading them, I could hardly do anything but just desperately pray & cry out to the Lord that He would somehow intercede & do a miracle to help us find the solution to the problems we've been faced with over & over & over again here in Europe! On the one hand, it's really heartbreaking‚ heart-rending, but on the other hand, as you so aptly said‚ it's infuriating to see what the Devil is doing & how he's been able to have such a heyday with God's children!

66. "We cried out to the Lord in desperate prayer, asking Him to intercede & help. When we were praying, one encouraging thing the Lord gave us was a vision of a runner who had fallen in the mud & muck & was lying prostrate on the ground with his face stuck in the mud. But as we were praying, it's almost as if some spirit helpers were lifting him up & helping him to get out of the mud, & as he stood up, strength was supernaturally given to him so he could go on to run the race & finish.

67. "It seems in many ways that's a picture of a lot of our teens here; they've fallen into the muck of carnal-mindedness, doubts, worldliness & the ensnarements of the Enemy, to the point that many of them have their face down & they're caught up in all that. They're not looking up‚ they're not looking at the Word‚ they're not looking at the Lord's answers, all they're looking at is the 'mud' that's in front of them.

68. "Lord help us to somehow help the teens get their eyes on the goal ahead, so He can give them that supernatural strength as was shown in the vision, & make them into the flaming Endtime prophets He wants them to be.

69. "We all feel somewhat overstretched with all that there is to do, but it seems like what General Foch said applies, 'My right has been rolled up! My left has been driven back! My centre has been smashed! I have ordered an advance from all directions!' That's what is needed here in Europe. Like the vision of the runner in the mud, though the spirit helpers helped him to get up, he had to keep running—& that seems to be what the Lord is expecting of all of us—we've got to run the race that is set before us, by looking unto Jesus & laying aside the weights & sins that have beset us." (End of reaction from P.)

70. From D.: "One thing that weakened our teen situation at the BTC was that we had several rotten apples together there, & they really did infect the rest of the teens. In addition to that, there were others who were very borderline; & it didn't take much to pull them the other way, so that they also became infectors.

71. "I believe things would have gone much better if we'd made a decision to get rid of the original three or four rotten apples at the beginning, like was done at the HCS at the time of the 'Shake–Up!' (See HOPE #8.) At the HCS Peter didn't hesitate one bit in getting those rotten apples out! After all, the Lord doesn't force us to serve Him. As in most other churches & organisations, if people start complaining & criticising & spreading division, it soon becomes apparent that they must not want to be there & they usually are invited to leave if they won't stop their murmuring. If we had done the same at the BTC, perhaps we would have lost one or two other teens or YAs who would have been upset that we'd kicked the rotters out, but it probably would have saved others who later got contaminated by their rebelliousness & negative attitudes.

72. "Also, & perhaps more important, it would have made the distinction very clear about what the Family standard is‚ & would have sent a clear signal that, regardless of the changes that need to be made in the shepherding or the rules or whatever, everyone has to have conviction & be willing to uphold the Spirit & dedication of the Family.

73. "In looking back, I can see that some confusion arose at the BTC which greatly hindered our teen shepherding in Europe. The Shepherds misunderstood or were unclear about what areas they needed to change in & what areas they needed to stand firm in. Of course, they needed to change their manner of communicating with the teens & their rather condescending, untrustful attitudes towards them. They also needed to learn to not talk down to the teens‚ to include them & listen to them‚ to ask their opinions, to act upon their ideas, to give them more choices, etc.—all the ways the PER outlines that our adults need to change.

74. "But when being faced with all these ways they needed to change, they lost sight of the unchanging standard that we uphold as a Family & expect from everyone, teens & adults alike—our discipleship standard‚ which is required regardless of how good or poor the shepherding is. Also, there was some confusion about which Home rules are open to change & variation‚ according to the wishes & desires of the teens, & which ones are definitely the Family standard & God's rules that are not subject to change.

75. "Of course, there were many mistakes on the Shepherds' part, such as lack of listening & counselling with the teens, lack of following through on the teens' requests, making promises that weren't kept‚ giving quick answers which didn't really satisfy the teens, etc. All this was wrong & needed to be changed. However, there were also very wrong attitudes on the part of some teens. While these were also addressed‚ in the end, it seems that the main responsibility to change was left more on the Shepherds than the teens, & the teens knew it.

76. "The end result was, with the Shepherds feeling shaky because of their recent mistakes & what they were learning‚ the teens pretty much ran all over them. Because the Shepherds didn't want to fall back into their old ways of handling things, & because the teens weren't responding as maturely & as responsibly as they should have to the new way, things got way out of hand. Some of the teens acted just the way you have warned in the PER GN that they shouldn't act, Mama. There was havoc!

77. "Maybe the BTC Seminar wouldn't have turned out this way had we not had a few very strong bad-apple characters in the teen group. We realise, Mama, that in the PER you were talking to the vast majority of our young people who are sweet, patient & dedicated, & who will likely respond maturely & appreciatively. I believe if we had not had those few very rotten apples who greatly contaminated things‚ we could have 'lifted the lid' on our teens & allowed them more leeway, more open communications, more freedom, etc., & we would have gotten beautiful results, which is what's happening around the World now as a result of the PER. We lifted the 'law,' which was made for this type of character, the law-breaker, & they didn't respect the PER method of shepherding we were trying to bring in. The result was chaos.

78. "Another thing that's affected the teens is System music. At the BTC Seminar, & at the teen meetings held shortly thereafter in two other countries, it was determined that rather than the teens being forbidden to listen to any System music at all‚ they could pow-wow what they wanted to listen to with their Shepherds & certain things could be allowed.

79. "Of course there was never an across-the-board okay for them to be able to listen to anything & everything‚ & in the pow-wows that we had with them, the teens & all agreed that hard rock music & all that Devil-inspired stuff was out. The teens said they didn't want that! But little by little they started desiring more & more System music; & even though they started out with the 'better' music, they soon began listening to the more demonic music. They went overboard listening to headphones all day long, & the guidelines of what music they could listen to weren't obeyed.

80. "The music they listened to really had a bad effect on them. This 'little door' of System music became a wide open crack & allowed much pollution to enter in, which we believe is the source of a lot of the foul language & swearing‚ etc. This really needs to be cleaned up & purged out.

81. "With time‚ teens from the BTC moved to different areas. Some of them brought criticisms, wrong attitudes, & division with them that quickly polluted the teens in their new Homes. Other things spread by gossip & through the grapevine. Eventually the lies, deceit & poison of the Enemy has affected our whole Work in Europe & has contaminated & weakened our young people overall. God help us!" (End of reaction from D.)

To Be Continued!